James Reimer started his first game since he was knocked out of action against the Habs Oct. 22 following a collision with Brian Gionta, which produced concussion-like symptoms. Reimer was fine given the layoff and his peripherals against the Bruins coming in (3-1-0, 2.46/ .930) were outstanding, but you've got to feel for the guy. A Leafs goalie returning from the IR against the Bruins is kind of like Superman returning from a little R&R at the Fortress of Solitude and responding to a breaking and entering call at Kryptonite Industries.
David Perron (1G, -1, 19:05 TOI, 5:08 PP to lead team, 1 SOG) missed 97 games due to his concussion, but he was back in action tonight for the Blues and even his parents were in attendance for this one. He opened on a line with Patrik Berglund and Matt D'Agostini, which pushed the miserably-producing Chris Stewart (he scored tonight and has points in three straight for the first time all season) onto a line with Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka. Alex Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie remained together to begin this tilt. Perron, as you'd imagine, received a really warm welcome from the crowd when he was introduced at the start. Hitchcock offered this on his returning forward following the game: “Holy smokes, he’s really going to help us out. About four more like him and we’ll be fine.”
Patrick Kane has back-to-back two-assist games since returning to the wing from centre and he ripped six shots on net tonight too. Marian Hossa had eight himself in a two-goal effort.
Speaking of Kanes, how can you not love Evander's game this season after shaking off that slow start? The kid has taken another step in his development this season and he's a real threat for standard league owners across the board on a nightly basis now. He has points in five straight, but he's been cruising for awhile now. Linemate Bryan Little has 11 points in his past nine games now and Blake Wheeler has eight points in eight games.
Stop me if you've heard this zinger before. Rick DiPietro walks into an arena… and leaves with an injury. Groin this time. Al Montoya… you're up again. Nino Neiderreiter also left this one with concussion-like symptoms.
Bright side for the Isles? Matt Moulson potted four goals when he hadn't even had a single multi-goal game on the season coming into this one against the Stars. He has scored in four straight now. John Tavares has five assists in his two December games after closing out last month with a six-game pointless skid. P.A. Parenteau, the third member of that line, pushed his point streak to four games with seven points in that span.
Ryan Miller backed up in the last game and started Saturday for the first time since the Milan Lucic entanglement. Miller had given up 18 goals in five starts before the big man sent him flying, so Miller used his healing time well and may have rediscovered his game. He stopped 32/34 in a 3-2 win over the Preds. The strangely ironic part of this one is that Miller was run by Jordin Tootoo in the crease and Miller, as you'd expect, was PISSED. He started punching Tootoo immediately as they were both on the ground and Miller's teammates came in to help their goalie. Tootoo got a charging major and was tossed. Paul Gaustad, who was also punching Tootoo, earned 4 + 10 for his troubles.
Steven Stamkos was held without a shot for the first time this season by the Rangers. He had 89 in 24 starts coming in.
What are your thoughts on realignment? HNIC's Satellite HotStove spent much of tonight's secon